It was September 2017 and even at that time I was already in a desperate need of a vacation. But I am talking about the real vacation, when you go somewhere for at least 2 weeks, where you are able to switch off completely, without thinking about the job or about what you have to accomplish next year. This time I wanted to go somewhere far away. For some time I have been dreaming about Bali, and I always thought of it as a paradise on earth. Of course, after seeing the movie Eat, Pray, Love, more than ever I wanted to travel there. I booked my ticket already in September. I don't have to tell you how excited I was. I couldn't wait to see new, beautiful places, exploring random streets, getting familiar with a new culture, meeting locals and indulging with delicious food too :D More than anything, I was super happy to start photographing again. I neglected photography for few months as I didn't feel inspired. I needed to see and experience something new, something different.
I came back from Indonesia 2 weeks ago. What can I say, I fell in love with the country, with its natural beauty, its culture, people, food, those incredible beaches. Now I feel like the old me. There I was able to embrace life with all my senses. It was amazing to get back that feeling :) i will give my best to maintain this feeling for as long as possible <3
My inspiration for photography came back :) I made so many photos, that is why it took me so long to prepare this blog post, it was not an easy decision to choose my favorites ;) Overall, the trip was incredible, I had some unexpected events, good and bad, but that's what made this journey even more interesting and special :) I would like to divide it into 3 stages. How and why, well, please check below ;)
1. Beautiful discovery (Ubud)
Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali, exceeded my expectations. Not only cause of ‘’Eat, Pray, Love’’ connotation but I was amazed with its natural beauty, diverse cultural sights, friendly people and great food. Sweet Ginger villa where I stayed 5 days was very nice and comfy, and had a beautiful garden. I was pretty lucky with the weather considering the monsoon season now, and I managed to visit major sights. Some of my favorite places are listed below, together with a sweet bungalow I stayed in, Sweet Ginger Villa :)
2. Beware (Gili Air)
After spending 5 days in Ubud, I decided to change location and visit another island close to Bali, namely, Gili Air. It is a small island of white sand sprinkled with coconut palms and surrounded by coral reefs teeming with marine life. Besides it, there are Gili Trawangan and Gili Meno islands. These three islands are considered to be a vision of paradise. Gili Air has the strongest local character and a perfect mix of buzz and bliss. Nevertheless, I was not really impressed with beaches. I was seeking for those wide, empty beaches, but most of them were combined with restaurants and bars, crowded with people, which I didn't like so much. An incident that actually contributed to my ''beware'' title above happened on my 2nd day there. I underestimated the sun that day and I only put on some coconut oil for tanning. You can just imagine how that day turned out... I came back to my room, red like a lobster :/ naive me..I learned my lesson, believe me! Next two days I was hiding from the sun, and was going out only in the afternoon. Of course, I didn't allow that ruin my vacation mode. I could still enjoy nice walks, delicious food, talks with local people who were extremely friendly and I managed to make some nice photos as well. I celebrated New Year's eve there as well. A friend of mine happened to be there at that time, so we celebrated it together. That was my first New Year's on the beach, and it was an awesome feeling. I could easily get used to it :D. But, that was not the end of my 'beware'' feeling. Next day I woke up with swollen eyes, which was the side-effect of a sunburn (I found that later on). At the beginning I didn't know what's happening with my face, and I was pretty much scared. It's not a joke, my eyes were half closed that a taxi driver actually thought I'm from Japan, hahah. But a local doctor told me it doesn't look so serious and gave me antihistamine pills and told me that in about 2 days I should be fine. Indeed, after 2 days I finally looked like me, amen! :) So cause of this incident I have a slight bitter feeling when I think of Gili Air, but that didn't kill my holiday vibe. I had fun moments and here are some of the favorite photos I took:
3. Serendipity (Kuta, Lombok)
If I have to choose my favorite word, I think I would go with serendipity. Not only do I like its meaning (fortunate accident), but even the sound of it makes it so special :) Plus, I love the movie ''Serendipity'' too. For those hopeless romantics out there, if you haven't watched it yet, definitely do it! Anyhow, back to the story. So, Kuta is a village on the island of Lombok in the Indonesian province West Nusa Tenggara. It is mostly known for its beautiful beaches. But for me, it turned out to be much more. After lot of sightseeing on Bali, and my bitter experience on Gili Air, I just wanted to spend my last days in Indonesia enjoying beautiful beaches, watching breathtaking sunsets and having evening walks. Guess what, exactly that happened, but with an additional sparkle ;) I stayed in an amazing Kies Villa resort, perfectly located in a quiet tranquil environment and close to the heart of Kuta. A friend of mine from Jakarta joined me in Kuta, however, due to an unexpected work thing, he couldn't really join me for the beach hunt, so I decided to arrange myself a driver who could take me to all those amazing places that I heard about. I believe that 80% of population drives scooters there, and it is much cheaper, of course; however, as I never did that before, I didn't want to get myself into an accident, cause roads are quite crowded and locals drive pretty fast. The driver took me first to the Sasak Village Sade, as I wanted to get at least a glimpse of the traditional Sasak life. Here are few photos:
After the Sade village I wanted to see highly-recommended Tanjung-Aan beach, an amazing wide sand beach.
While I was walking on the beach, serendipity happened. A guy approached me asking to take a photo of him on the swing. I did it and asked him to do the same for me. Then we started talking, his name was Matias, from Chile and he has been traveling alone for some time. As we had similar interests in Kuta, we spent the next three days hanging out together. Thanks to him, I had my first ride on a scooter, it was pretty exciting driving next to rice fields, greeting locals on the way and being surrounded by all the raw nature. At one point we got stuck on the muddy road, that was so hilarious. While being on Tanjung Aan beach, we also wanted to see the sunset from the hill we heard about. That was one of the most beautiful moments I experienced while traveling. A sunset was simply splendid. The next day while visiting other famous beaches, a heavy rain started. That was my favorite ride on a scooter :) and the first time I didn't mind the rain. I think Matias was not aware how much he contributed to my last days in Indonesia, especially compared to my previous experience on Gili Air. Not only did I get to meet an incredible person, but the entire itinerary we had in Kuta was very much spontaneous, and hilarious. So thank you Matias, for being my secret photographer :) and for all your generosity. Here are more beach photos, including stunning sunset:
Why do all good things come to an end?! Otherwise we wouldn't cherish them so much, right! :) I will definitely go back to Indonesia, there are so many beautiful places to see there. This was just a start, to get a bit familiar with the culture and Indonesian sun :)
I hope you will like the photos. I look forward to receiving your feedback. If you are about to travel to Bali or Lombok and need some tips, feel free to contact me ;)